I'm now in my fifth month as FCC President - which is hard for me to believe!
As a new president, one of my priorities is connecting with our students to hear firsthand what the student experience is really like, how well we are serving them, and what we can do better or differently to ensure they meet their goals.
I recently held a student forum to hear feedback on those very questions. It was a talkative, honest group and they had me wishing I could spend all day with them!
When asked what FCC means to them, one of our basketball players, Maxwell, said it's like a home for him.
When asked about the FCC student experience, Megan, a student in our nursing program, shared how her classmates support each other like family and all value each other’s unique perspectives.
When asked why they chose FCC, Lexi, a STEM student who plans to earn a doctorate degree, said FCC was a no brainer for her once she sat down and calculated how much her years of schooling would cost. She said FCC offered the chance to get a quality education at a much more affordable price than other colleges or universities…and she’s already telling her younger sister to join her at FCC once she’s finished high school.
These are of course just a few of the thousands of students who come to FCC, but they represent so many different dreams and stories. And they all come to FCC for one reason: to achieve a goal.
As always, I left feeling inspired by our students and in awe of all they bring to our classrooms, as well as the goals they have set for themselves. It was a good reminder of why my colleagues and I all do what we do - and why it matters so much. Every day, we have the power to help students reach their goals and better themselves. It's a privilege that I know none of us take lightly, and I am fortunate to be in this position, finding ways to continually move FCC forward...for our students.
Dr. Annesa Payne Cheek
President of Frederick Community College
Student Veteran Highlight:
LaMont "Alex" Nowlin
In honor of Veterans Day being recognized in November, I wanted to highlight one of our incredible student veterans, LaMont “Alex” Nowlin.
Alex was working as a security guard for the federal government when he decided to enlist in the Navy Reserve in July 2001. His active-duty Navy service was to maintain physical security on Navy and Marine Corps installations.
He served one tour in Kuwait and Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2008, he discharged from the Navy, and went on to earn an associate degree from Montgomery College and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from The University of Maryland University College. He retired from the federal government in 2018.
His interest in helping other veterans is ultimately what led him here to FCC, where he enrolled this fall to pursue the fitness/personal trainer certificate program. His motivation for enrolling was to “one day train veterans and assist them with positive, healthy lifestyles.”
Starting at FCC as an older student was originally intimidating, he said, but the Veteran and Military Services Office made him quickly feel at home, especially having the veterans lounge where veterans can connect.
Alex has quickly found ways to become involved at FCC, including participating in an Adult Learners discussion with me and serving as a panelist during a discussion to raise awareness about disabilities.
Dr. Amy Coldren, Director of Veteran and Military Services, says supporting veterans like Alex is a privilege.
“Our Office is proud to work on behalf of veterans every day to ensure they have what they need to be successful in civilian and college life,” Dr. Coldren said. “They have been selfless in their service to our country and all of us and they bring such incredible experience and life knowledge to our College. It’s an honor to be able to show our gratitude to them through the assistance we provide.”
We salute Alex and all the veterans in our community for their service to our country. Thank you!
Alex is pictured above, next to me and along with many outstanding community leaders, during a Veterans Appreciation Ceremony held earlier this month.
Spreading the Word about FCC
During Visit Day
I had the chance to participate in my first "Visit Day", a tradition started by the FCC Foundation in 2016. During this event, FCC students, employees, and Foundation Board Members form teams and visit local businesses and community leaders. The teams raise awareness about FCC and how we serve our students and the community. Students often talk about how their scholarships have helped on their FCC journeys. It’s also an opportunity for the FCC teams to hear from the businesses/organizations they visit how FCC can support their endeavors.
I have to brag that I had a great team and we had some incredible visits! Alan Whelan, former SGA president; FCC Trustee Dr. John Molesworth; and myself visited Dave Ziedelis, Executive Director of Visit Frederick; Kara Norman, Executive Director at Downtown Frederick Partnership; Richard Griffin, Director of Economic Development for The City of Frederick; and Steve Heine, President of Woodsboro Bank. They are four amazing community leaders! It was inspiring to hear them each talk about the passion they have for Frederick and our citizens. It was truly a great day.
I thank the FCC Foundation for planning this event, and all those who participated this year.
Teaching Biology and Cooking -All in a Day's Work for Professor Cavinato!
Talk about a multi-talented faculty member...Tiziana Cavinato is usually known for teaching biology at FCC but she recently traded her lab coat for a chef coat! Professor Cavinato taught the Italian cuisine session of the international cuisine class at the Monroe Center as part of our Hospitality, Culinary, and Tourism Institute (HCTI).
Professor Cavinato was born and raised in Italy and moved to the U.S. when she was 29 years old to work at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Her love of cooking comes from her family – her grandmothers were amazing cooks, and her parents, brother, and cousins now all share the same passion. She often prepares recipes together with her cousins who live in Southern Italy using an online communication app, something that makes Professor Cavinato feel closer to her family, culture, and country.
She jumped at the opportunity to teach the Italian cuisine session, to share both her love of cooking and her culture with FCC students. She taught the students how to prepare dishes from both Northern and Southern Italy.
“You would be surprised how similar it is, teaching biology and cooking,” Professor Cavinato said. “In biology, you have to follow a protocol while performing an experiment, just as you follow a recipe in cooking. In both classes, students have to understand what they will be doing in advance. Though the best part about the cooking class is that we get to eat our experiment at the end, which is different from the biology lab!”
Just imagine, teaching biology from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and then cooking from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m., and yet Professor Cavinato said, “It was a long day, but it gave me great satisfaction and pleasure and I would do it again!” That’s dedication!
Congratulating FCC Student-Athletes Named All-Americans
Life as a student-athlete requires a high level of dedication and hard work. Balancing work loads and team schedules is tough, but we are so proud of all our student-athletes who represent us well in the classroom and on our fields and courts. Three players each, from our men’s soccer and women’s volleyball teams were recently named to the 2022 All-American Teams.
Congratulations to these six outstanding student-athletes:
David Diaz-Guzman, Jackson Kincaid-Osborn, and Robert Watson
Macie Chrisman, Saige Cochran, and Haydyn Wright
Turning Our Student Center
Into a Mock Operating Room!
Our Student Center recently turned into an operating room - but luckily it was only for a class exercise! Students from our Respiratory Care, Surgical Technology, and Nursing programs conducted a simulation of a laparotomy with intubation. They invited anyone interested to watch, and program faculty and advisors were available to answer questions about the Health Sciences offerings at FCC. What a cool way to demonstrate student learning!
Celebrating the Arts and Alumni at FCC
Earlier this month, we held quite the celebration of arts at FCC.
“An Artful Evening” gave attendees the chance to enjoy a faculty art exhibit, faculty music recital, a student theater performance, and an awards ceremony - all without leaving the Visual and Performing Arts Building!
This event is held every three years to showcase the incredible talents of our arts faculty and celebrate alumni of our arts programs.
Distinguished Artist Awards were given out by faculty members to FCC alumni in the areas of art, drama, film, graphic design, and music. There was also a Patron of the Arts award, which recognizes a strong supporter of the arts at FCC.
I thank all our faculty and students who helped make this night special and I congratulate the newest recipients of the Distinguished Artist Awards:
Art: Catherine Moreland Film: Lance Duvall Drama: Tabetha White Graphic Design: Austin Braswell Music: Rachel Niederberger Patron of the Arts: John Joseph Slezak (posthumously)
Blitzing My Own Colleagues!
As a young girl growing up, I always watched Sunday football with my dad. Whichever team he was rooting for was “my” team. Mom would always be cooking Sunday dinner (one, because that was what my mom always did on Sunday, and two, because my dad hated eating leftovers). We never bought team jerseys, wore special hats, or painted our faces, but it was a ritual nonetheless….daddy-daughter time for sure.
So when he yelled at the TV screen, I yelled at the TV screen. Whenever he said, “that’s a bad call!” I followed suit. Whenever he jumped out of his seat to celebrate a score or the BIG victory, I was right there jumping up and down with him.
In the spirit of football season, I decided to run a six-week blitz for our employees…a rush of short questions over six weeks to help inform my transitional learning curve.
We are just starting week 3 of the “blitz," but it is already helping inform my transitional learning curve.
One prompt was “Give one example of how you LIVE our mission every day in your role at FCC.” I combined the responses in a Word Cloud to see which words stood out most. I’m excited that “students” was by far the most common word used. We all know students come first at FCC and this exercise clearly reinforced that shared understanding. Other words that stood out to me were mission, success, access, help, support, community, and health.
These words are just a reminder of a few things I am grateful for here at FCC. As we enter this season of reflection and celebration of all that is good and special in our daily lives, I invite you to please join me in giving thanks for our communities and citizenry of Frederick County and our amazing team here at FCC!
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